The Savage World of Black Tokyo is a passion project of mine, originally started to teach myself the Savage Worlds ruleset by converting a pathfinder campaign setting over into it. I’m going to preview most of the species (not races, long story) and iconic frameworks here on my blog while I work on the full document. Today is the Akaname, a bold choice based loosely on a yokai from Japanese folklore; a hunched imp-like monster that haunts unclean spaces and licks the filth off of dirty bathrooms.
NOTE: I have taken many liberties with the source material, as I personally found some elements too distasteful to work with and others bizarrely inaccurate to Japanese culture, folklore, and mythology. In this case, the original included elements of corpophilia that I really did not want to get involved with. You are free to purchase the original books and play the game as the author intended.
By Utagawa Yoshikazu (歌川芳員, Japanese) (scanned from ISBN 978-4-7959-1955-6.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Brief: Akaname are the hidden undead, working class zombies eking out a living doing the jobs nobody else wants to. Skin perpetually pale and clammy, with a natural inclination to hunch and possessing long red tongues, there is no mistaking an akaname once you get up close.
Akaname hold a mirror up to Japanese society and the ‘untouchable’ burakumin social caste; people doing the ‘dirty’ jobs such as butchers and undertakers. The Akaname are eta, a slur that translates to ‘an abundance of filth’, a people branded with the stench of death.
Akaname are a powerful stealthful species, mechanically good at getting into places other people cannot via their senses and unnatural flexibility. Their undead immunities means they can take a lot of punishment, however their unnatural eating habits and hefty charisma penalty means they’re often only found in the company of their own kind and other undead.
– Akaname Senses (+2)*: Akaname have an uncanny sense of smell; this gives them a +2 to Notice and Tracking rolls. They halve all lighting penalties at short range, and suffer no penalties when fighting in melee against Invisible opponents.
– Eta (-2): Akaname pass for human at a glance, but there is always something unsettling that marks them as being other. In addition they are considered the lowest of the low, and always suffer a -4 Charisma penalty against non-Undead.
– Octopus Bones (+2): Akaname can deform their body to pass through any opening big enough to admit their skull. Akaname ignore penalties to Parry and Fighting rolls while Prone.
– Rotting Meal (-2): Akaname must subsist on a diet of rotting and spoiled food and drink. Consuming fresh food and drink makes them Fatigued until they can have a ‘proper’ meal.
– Undead (+2): Toughness +2; +2 to recover from Shaken; Immune called shots; Immune wound modifiers; Immune disease and poison.
*Based on Scent monstrous ability from the Savage Bestiary Reformatted.
The following edge is available to Akaname players during character creation or when taking an Advance.
Akaname can survive drinking gasoline, kerosene, oil, and similar substances. Drinking at least a litre gives you 1 charge (maximum 1), and requires multiple rounds to perform. You can spend this charge within an hour to breathe fire using the Cone Template. Every target within this cone may make an Agility roll at -2 to avoid the attack. Those who fail suffer 2d10 fire damage and must check to see if they catch fire (see Fire, core book). You cannot attack in the same round you breathe fire.
So there we have it, something simple to start us off with. The original was an excrement-eating zombie while this version deals more with issues in Japanese culture, both only vaguely connected to the mythological akaname.
In the coming days I hope to post more species (look forward to the Daughters of Kirin) and cultural templates, as well as sink my teeth into the iconic frameworks such as the Flow Witch and Ghostkiss Investigator. On top of that I’ve resumed work on my Powered By The Apocalypse game of Japanese punk cyber-horror The Red Gates and my Stab-City-inspired Suda51 tribute game Garden Of Madness for Fate via the Deck of Fate. Beyond that, I’ve got a ton of Strike actual play reports to post from my Final Fantasy: Crystal Rebels campaign, as well as other tangents on game design.
We’re back baby.